Subverting Transphobia and Challenging Ignorance

The Interactive Construction of Resistant Identity in a Community of Practice of Transgender Youth


  • Lucy Jones University of Nottingham



community of practice, transgender, youth, identity, transphobia


In this article, I present two moments of interaction emerging from a focus group between young people who are members of a community of practice: a support group for transgender youth and their parents. Using discourse analysis, I demonstrate how the young people work collaboratively to construct a mutual identity, which foregrounds their shared experience of transgender issues and minimises differences between them. I argue that they do this to actively challenge and resist the discrimination they experience due to transphobia and ignorance, which includes attempts to ‘other’ them. I show how the young people ascribe themselves agency by subverting the heteronormative ideologies which inform this othering, thus constructing an active, resistant and validated mutual identity rather than a victimised, submissive or othered one. This identity work tells us much about the hugely important role played by support groups in helping young people to construct a positive persona in the face of transphobic discrimination.

Author Biography

Lucy Jones, University of Nottingham

Lucy Jones is an Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics at the University of Nottingham. She has previously published on lesbian identity construction, normativity in LGBT youth groups, and homophobia in the media. Her current projects include an intersectional analysis of identity positioning amongst queer youth and a study of narratives produced by trans patients at a gender identity clinic.


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How to Cite

Jones, L. (2020). Subverting Transphobia and Challenging Ignorance: The Interactive Construction of Resistant Identity in a Community of Practice of Transgender Youth. Journal of Language and Discrimination, 4(2), 149–171.